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VMW Interviews Rock Legend Henry Rollins

An Unplanned Encounter of Sorts

by Brandon Freitas, VMW Director of Communications

Now that I have relocated to beautiful Helena, Montana (Big Sky Country), I have been thinking about what I can write about on behalf of VMW - something relevant.  There is something to be said and the myriad of organizations that have this as their motto (namely, the U.S. Coast Guard) say it well, Semper Paratus, which of course means "Always Ready".  Well, I wasn't necessarily ready, but I wanted to confirm what I saw to be certain, then move into my "brainstorm" session. Let me explain.

When you see a celebrity of any kind, do you run up to them and ask their autograph or acknowledge them courteously, or do you do nothing?  For me, I've never been the one to dash towards a celebrity and get all I can and make them feel uncomfortable - that's just not me.  So, this one typical day, after my day of work at the VA hospital at Ft. Harrison, I went to the gym. It was unlike any other day for me, one of the four or so gym-days for me, and so when I walked in the cardio area to begin that portion of my workout, I saw someone that looked "familiar".  So my mind began racing.  Who was it?  Where have I seen him?  Am I losing my mind?  All these thoughts came to me at once.  I couldn't point to it right away, so I jumped on my stationary bike behind this individual as he ran on the treadmill.  It couldn't be anyone of any celebrity, could it?  Afterall, I am in Helena, Montana of course.  What celebrity comes here?  So I continued to bike....and bike....and pedal....and burn....and sweat.  For the next 20mins, while I watched ESPN on one side and CNN and Fox News on the other, I still thought that I knew this guy from somewhere.  His tatoos and style of hair was and his face...I've seen that scowl before, but where!!??

As a viewer of hundreds of thousands of music vides during the early 90s and a fan of MTV and VH1, I still couldn't shake the feeling that I "knew" this guy from somewhere.  After mulling over it for about 2wks, and asking some very reliable "sources" on Facebook...yes, I am being facetious...but yes, Facebook...it was confirmed - IT WAS HENRY ROLLINS, the iconic metal rocker of the 90s, Actor, Writer, and Producer....I kept thinking of the song "Liar" and I knew I recognized that face...the scowl from him working out...and from that video!!  Same one!

So, I now began thinking of what can I do?  Should I ask him...  BOTTOM LINE: I contacted him via email and was thinking I had a 50-50 chance that I'd get a response.  Below are the answers I received from my questions.  Thank you, Mr. Henry Rollins!

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VMW: Why were you in Helena?

Rollins: I was in Helena for a show that took place on 9/19/12 at the Myrna Loy Center.

VMW: Do you have any military experience in your background?  If you served, in what branch and specialty?  If haven’t served…what branch do you think you’d have served in and why?   What would you have wanted to do in the military?

Rollins: I have no milirary experience. I can only speculate as to what I would have been able to give to service. Perhaps Army. As to what to do, probably what I was ordered to.

VMW: Can you tell me of some of the events you have done with Veterans and/or active troops…just name a couple/few of your most memorable ones…when and where?

Rollins: I have done some USO work. Seven tours. Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey—basically wherever they asked me to go. Along with that, several visits to Walter Reed and Bethesda. Memorable? Good question. It all kind of stands out and at some points was quite surreal. One day you’re at home and a week later, you’re walking through Saddam’s palace. The most memorable part of all of it was the soldiers. Excellent people I met.

VMW: I know you’re an activist in other areas, but do you have any foundations or support any organizations that help Veterans?  Example: Wounded Warrior Project…

Rollins: I have been working for years with IAVA (Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America).

VMW: When you hear the phrase, “Modern Warrior” with regards to VMW, what comes to mind?

Rollins: A more technologically trained and aware soldier than previous generations required. Also, a soldier who has to account for a less “traditional” enemy as to methods and strategy.

VMW: If given the chance to speak or say something to our Modern Warriors, what would you say?

Rollins:  Stay focused and get back to the di fac in on piece.

VMW: Is there a particular song or piece of work you have done that is either dedicated to our service men and women or captures today’s Modern Warriors’ “essence”?  If not, give us some of your "words of wisdom".

Rollins: There is not. As to wisdom, I don’t know if I am qualified to provide any as I have no experience the military. I would suggest that since we have a voluntary service model, a soldier should not expect understanding from the civilian population when he or she returns from service. There is, sadly, a bit of a disconnect.

VMW: Not making the answer partisan (if possible—I know that’s tough no matter side of the isle you sit): can you give me a few of your top concerns when it comes to the Fed taking care of its wounded warriors?  What do you think the Government's priorities should be?  What are you disappointed with?  When it comes to Veterans and our Gov’t and/or society in general.

Rollins: To me it is a non-partisan issue. These people put themselves in extreme danger. When they return and are in need of services, none of them should be denied. Perhaps you would want to ask your Republican members of Congress why they were against signing in the Veterans Jobs Corps Act several days ago. I am sure they have a real kick ass reason.

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And there you have it.  Thank you, Henry for your time and candor.  We appreciate that!!

Click HERE for Henry's official website.

Click HERE for the IMDB link for more on Henry.

 

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